Casey: GOP health care bill a 'snake in the grass'

Written by Rachel McDevitt | Sep 20, 2017 4:09 AM

FILE PHOTO: Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania's senior U.S. senator is warning the latest GOP plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act would decimate Medicaid, jeopardizing care for children with disabilities and seniors in nursing homes, among others.

Democratic Senator Bob Casey says the new measure goes against an agreement among senators that one big piece of legislation can't solve the nation's health care problems.

He says the chamber's health committee has been working for weeks to resolve smaller, important issues in health care.

"We're focused on the individual market. We're focused on fixing problems in the individual market. We're focused on cost-sharing, to give everyone some certainty about what's going to happen," Casey said in a conference call with reporters. "This would undermine all of that work, now and in the future, and would devastate people's lives."

Casey says the Graham-Cassidy proposal would cap Medicaid and convert it to block grants to states, leaving them with less federal aid over time. It would also end protections for people with preexisting conditions, driving up their health insurance premiums.

He adds Republicans are going to try to ram through the proposal with one hearing, instead of a thorough vetting. 

"This latest bill is nothing better than a snake in the grass, and it's a venomous snake that's going to bite a lot of people," Casey said. 

Left-leaning think tanks say the proposal would cut federal funding for health care by more than $400 billion over ten years.

Pennsylvania's Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey has been pushing to curb future Medicaid spending, saying the program is unsustainable.

This story has been updated to reflect Sen. Toomey's position on Medicaid. 

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